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‘Nigeria Would Soon Be Self Sufficient In Rice Production’

audu-ogbeh
Posted: Oct 7, 2016 at 3:45 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

 Seyi Taiwo-Oguntuase

Lagos

Nigerians have been assured that very soon the country will be self sufficient in rice production.

This is as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said it was funding six agricultural commodities value chains with emphasis on rice and yam production to ensure food sufficient in Nigeria.

Dr. Audu Grema, Senior Programme Officer, Agriculture in the West African Office of the Foundation, gave the assurance while stressing that the rice project by the Foundation was currently being implemented in Cross River, Niger, Kebbi, Jigawa, Kano, Plateau Edo and Ebonyi states.

He listed some agricultural projects of the foundation to include CARI-Project (rice), which was aimed at improving rice production, pest control and variety enhancement, adding that the Cassava Value Addition Project (CAVA) was based in Abeokuta at the University of Agriculture.

“We also have a big yam project where we are working with private farms around Abuja, Kaduna, Niger, Ibadan, Abeokuta and Akure to enhance yam propagation technology through seeds.

 

“We have a huge portfolio of agricultural investments in Nigeria. We are working on maize, rice, yam, cassava and crop-livestock interface. We have four strategic cassava investments that we think are critical that we are funding across Nigeria,” he added.

He also said the foundation do not approve projects except if it has a small holder connection, adding that the foundation was also working in public health, integrated vaccine delivery, routine immunization revival across many states.

“In agriculture, we do not approve projects except if it has a small holder connection. Anything we fund must have a connection with enhancing the status of small scale farmers,” he said.

He assured that the foundation would align its programmes with that of the federal government to enable the country achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He also commended the ‘Green Alternative’ currently launched by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, noting that the agricultural initiative was a step toward fighting poverty and food security in Nigeria.